I've wanted to get a beehive for several years now and this was the first time all of the stars aligned to be able to do so. In early April I put in an order for my hive supers (the box the bees build their hive in), all my tools, and a 3 lb crate of bees with queen.
|Crate of bees ready to be opened|
|Beehive with bees in their new home|
The installation was textbook. I dumped the bees into their super, added the queen, and put an extra super on top with an inverted jug of sugar-water inside to feed the bees until they can forage for themselves.
The video above was taken just a few days after installation. You can see bees returning with forage (pollen on their legs, and nectar and water inside their second stomach) and you can see one bee dragging another dead one out of the hive and dumping her unceremoniously off the balcony. They are not sentimental creatures.
|First inspection. Girls already hard at work|
|Week one. Royal Jelly and pollen in the cells|
|17 days. We already have capped brood|
|17 days. First signs of capped honey. Note the color
difference between capped honey and capped brood
From everything I know, we have a very active, very healthy hive. We were able to add a third super onto the hive during our 4th week inspection. We also saw the queen for the first time, which is cool, because she can be very hard to spot. No good pictures of her though. I was also able to open up the entrance from that little opening you can see in one of the above pictures to a larger opening, allowing the hive more ventilation and the bees more space to get in and out.
Each inspection consists of going through all 10 frames in each super and making sure the queen is laying new eggs in a tight, consistent pattern; the bees are drawing out comb on each frame; removing comb the bees have built outside of the frame parameters (burr comb); and seeing that the hive looks healthy.
|Empty brood. Our first batch of new bees hatched!|
|About 1 cup worth of burr comb|
We'll do another inspection Thursday. So far, so good. We're having a lot of fun with this and, time and money permitting, I already plan on getting more hives next spring.
|Baby bees on a playflight: where they learn to use their wings
and discover their surroundings.